SEO Basic Tip #3 – If You Want a Happy Search Engine, Keep the Humans Happy

Bear with me.  I have an SEO point to make, but I’d like to wander a bit into my own little alternate universe of gripes and then bring it back around.  Maybe the analogy will work, and maybe it won’t…

Have you ever tried Google translate?  Are you happy with it?  I’m not.  It stinks, IMHO.  Take a look at this sentence I pulled from an Italian news article that Google “translated”:

But not quite seen that, Castagnetti recalls, “I did these and other budget items that were too summary, explanations and asked, after a discussion, the 2011 budget was not voted and returned to the clarification of an ad hoc”

Women confused by Google translationHuh?  And you call this a “translation.”  Really?  I’d like to suggest that no human who reads English would be happy with that translation.  And why is that?  Because a machine wrote it and a human has to read it, and never the twain shall meet.

So, are you writing content primarily for search engines?  Really?  Unfortunately some SEO guys and gals write so much for the engines that they forget about the humans.  However, as bad as Google is at translating (and to be fair, there isn’t much tougher of a challenge than translating one language into another), they realize that something written for a machine might please a machine but not a human.

Google, above all else, is in the business of pleasing humans.  If they serve up search results that sound like that piece of translation I cited, about as many people will use the Google search engine as currently use Google translation, which isn’t many.

So Google has the best and brightest of their talent working on something other than translation (as if we couldn’t tell).  That something is called Natural Language Processing (similar too, but not to be confused with, Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI).  This represents their quest for tools to screen out the content garbage and allow well-written content, content that keeps humans happy, to rise to the top.

tool icon represents an seo how to subject

Let's Get to Work!

With that in mind, here’s your tip and your action agenda.  I suggest you use this as your bottom line on anything you produce for your site:

  • Above all else, write for a human visitor, not a search engine.  That having been said, you can still optimize for search, but keep the following in mind…
  • Forget about writing your content around “keywords”
  • Instead, determine the theme that contains the keywords that are important to you and write for that theme, not those keywords (subtle but important difference)
  • Think like a human and write like a human.  Google and the rest are catching up to you, and if you write good content for humans it will pay off down the road.
  • After you write content, read it.  Out loud.  A couple of times.  If it sounds awkward to you, it probably will to Google as well.
  • Revise it
  • Take some time with it (sigh, I know this suggestion really sucks, but oh well…)
If you create your content according to these principles, you will be building content that will, with time, make your site stand out to both humans and search engines as high-quality, worthy of showing higher in SERPs, and worthy of recommending to friends.  That’s the best of all worlds.

 

Ross Barefoot

Ross Barefoot is Chief Technical Officer with Horizon Web Marketing in Las Vegas, Nevada.He also is the founder of FLEXISS Digital Design and a Certified Search Engine Optimization Trainer for the Search Engine Academy.

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